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This past Saturday, I attended my first expat blogger meetup! I was lucky enough that the location for this meetup was right in Heidelberg :) I had stumbled upon the meetup via a series of tweets I had seen from some bloggers I follow (so I might have invited myself…;) ). Seriously, the blogging world is so big yet so small! It was so much fun meeting up with everyone…especially because we all came to Germany for different reasons and have a variety of occupations.
It was fun to have everyone in Heidelberg because a) I got to be the unofficial tour guide and b) I finally did all the “tourist-y” things I should have done months ago! We started the day by hiking up to Schloss Heidelberg (Heidelberg Castle). The weather was supposed to be rainy but it held off all day and the sun actually peaked out in the afternoon. I’ve done a few posts before on Heidelberg Castle but see something new each time I go! This time, there was a wedding going on at the castle! It was so gorgeous :) Mom and Dad, I’m getting ideas… ;)
After the castle, we headed into town for lunch at Cafe Knösel! I had such a delicious Flammkuchen (sort of like a really, really thin crust pizza). The cafe is the oldest cafe in Heidelberg and serves a lot of traditional German food!
We walked from the Alte Brücke to the Studentenkarzer (student prison) in Heidelberg. I’ve been wanting to visit the student prison but have been too lazy to actually check it out! Man, have I been missing out. The prison was in operation from 1836 – 1914. Students were jailed for an array of offenses including disorderly conduct (aka being drunk in public), throwing rocks and/or stones, messing with police officers, etc. Students were only allowed bread and water for the first two days. Afterwards, their friends could bring them any kind of food they wanted…including beer! Also, students would bring in their own mattresses and other objects to make the cells more “homely.” The students could leave the prison for class, however some would purposely get locked up to miss class and/or exams! Most of the students documented their crimes on the walls via poems, odes, or other short stories.
The majority of students locked up were fraternity men or men of other university societies. The fraternity men were quite proud to be locked up and the majority of designs on the wall were signed with different fraternity logos, signatures, or symbols. The students could be locked up anywhere from a few days to four weeks, depending on the severity of the crime. Ironically, only men were ever sent to the jail!
Our ticket for the student prison also included admission to the university museum. I learned that the University of Heidelberg has produced 43 Nobel Prize winners (for Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Peace, and Literature), making the University of Heidelberg #13 worldwide in terms of the most Nobel Laureates produced by a university (fun fact, Wash U is #27)! Also, there was some amazing photography of the University of Heidelberg from the Nazi Era. It was amazing to see the transformation that took place at the university. I also took pictures of the Alte Aula (old auditorium) where the Master’s graduation ceremony took place the night before. However, I didn’t manage to get any good pictures during the ceremony so I snuck back in and took some!
We ended our day by getting froyo! My friend, Natalie, told me about this froyo place in Heidelberg and I’ve been wanting to try it ever since. Seriously, froyo was one of my main food categories when I was in college :) And let me say, this place did not disappoint!
It was a lot of fun meeting up with all these people and I enjoyed swapping expat stories with them. Plus I got some really useful travel hints and app suggestions (thanks Steven!). Hopefully we can meet up again sometime in the future. Until then, I highly recommend that you check out their blogs as well!